Solar Telescope. Click to enlarge it so you can see the flares of 80 years ago.
In the background are boxes and boxes of the history of the universe, depicted on glass plates.
"George Ellery Hale had a telescope in his back yard at his childhood home in Chicago, known as the Kenwood Observatory," says Dr. Hunt. "When Hale moved to Pasadena to build the first telescope on Mount Wilson in 1904, he brought these plates with him, known as the Kenwood Plates."
Thus, the years written on the boxes are 1894. 1895. 1892.
On and on with the glass plates. The universe is pretty big! And astronomers at Mount Wilson Observatory have been photographing it for more than 100 years.
Carnegie's history is and will always be intertwined with that of Mount Wilson and the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), but they're no longer officially affiliated. The Carnegie Observatories is an international research conglomerate. The astrophysics being done here is very much of the future. But these glass plates, depicting the astronomy of the past, are immensely valuable to science and history. That is to say, they're priceless. That, and the fact that they're sensitive to heat and light, is why they're kept in a vault. That's why the public rarely sees them.
That's why you should go to the Carnegie Observatories family-friendly Open House on Sunday, October 18th, 2-5pm, when some of these plates will be on display. Be sure to RSVP!